Moral Reconstruction Christian Lobbyists and the Federal Legislation of Morality, 1865-1920

by Gaines M. Foster

Moral Reconstruction Christian Lobbyists and the Federal Legislation of Morality, 1865-1920 Synopsis

Between 1865 and 1920, Congress passed laws to regulate obscenity, sexuality, divorce, gambling, and prizefighting. It forced Mormons to abandon polygamy, attacked interstate prostitution, made narcotics contraband, and stopped the manufacture and sale of alcohol. Gaines Foster explores the force behind this unprecedented federal regulation of personal morality - a combined Christian lobby. Foster analyzes the fears of appetite and avarice that led organizations such as the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the National Reform Association to call for moral legislation and examines the efforts and interconnections of the men and women who lobbied for it. His account underscores the crucial role white southerners played in the rise of moral reform after 1890. With emancipation, white southerners no longer needed to protect slavery from federal intervention, and they seized on moral legislation as a tool for controlling African Americans. Enriching our understanding of the aftermath of the Civil War and the expansion of national power, Moral Reconstruction also offers valuable insight into the link between historical and contemporary efforts to legislate morality.

Moral Reconstruction Christian Lobbyists and the Federal Legislation of Morality, 1865-1920 Press Reviews

Helps us understand how--then and now--people who believe in limited government and individual moral responsibility can, at the same time, believe that the state has an obligation to legislate morality. (Ronald Walters, Johns Hopkins University) Deeply researched and clearly argued. -- The Catholic Historical Review Deeply researched and clearly argued. - The Catholic Historical Review

Book Information

ISBN: 9780807853665
Publication date: 31st May 2002
Author: Gaines M. Foster
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 336 pages
Categories: History of the Americas, Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Ethical issues & debates, Christian theology, Central government,

About Gaines M. Foster

GAINES M. FOSTER, author of Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South, is associate professor of history at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

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